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happiness | ˈhøpin1s |
1 feeling or showing pleasure or contentment
2 inclined to use a specified thing excessively or at random
3 an abundance in your life of that which makes you happy and giving it away (darwin's definition)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Adventure of a Lifetime

I have been on the most amazing adventure. No, I didn't go backpacking in the Himalayas. No, I didn't goto to a music festival in Berlin. And I didn't fly around the world in 80 days. In fact, I was only gone a couple of days and burned through less than a tank of gas.

Most importantly, my adventure had no agenda, destination or expectation for success. Equipped with little more than the clothes on our back and some camping gear (which we never used), my five year old son and I headed out on Tuesday for destination unknown.

I know what you're thinking. Yeah sure, this was a fun trip for the kid and as a father you probably had an good time too. And in the this you would be correct but there something else was going on. I decided the morning of our trip that we would have no destination in mind when we hit the road but it wasn't until we we're driving that I decided to let my son make all the decisions.

As we headed out of the city I asked if he wanted to stop at the Golden Gate Bridge. He agreed but when we stopped he wanted to head out onto the pier below the bridge. Now this is where you Type-A type people start getting nervous:

The bridge...it's right there. If we don't get to the bridge quickly it will be hours before we get on the road. And we don't know where we're staying. We don't even have reservations.

And before you know it you're steering away from the pier and walking straight towards the bridge. But a funny thing happened walking away from our intended destination. My son started asking me questions about what we encountered. Ranging from why the men we're fishing from the pier to what's poison oak, our journey started to turn into much more than a vacation.

We took the most out of the way route up to the bridge and we did in fact walk on the bridge. But half way across my son looked up and me and said, "I'm done, let's go." And that is exactly what we did. Good thing too, because that put us in Petaluma precisely in time for lunch. It was there that we saw the sign for Bodega Bay and decided that it was time that we steered West instead of North.

Upon crossing into Bodega Bay we were both struck by the beautiful countryside. And the wind was really kicking so when we passed a kite store I figured it wouldn't be long before we we're trying our luck at some flying of our own.

"Do you want to stop and get a kite?" I asked.

"Nope, we're on a scavenger hunt and I'm not looking for a kite," he responded.

"What are we looking for?" I asked.

"Something round, something cool, peaches and gold," said the magical five year old.

North of Bodega Bay we spotted some cabins at River's End Dining and Cabins. "Do you think we should get a cabin instead of camping?" I asked.

Stone checked out cabin #4 before agreeing but instantly decided to stay when he took a look at the world of adventure awaiting us below the cabin. Surf, a private bay, seals, ducks, rocks, mud...everything a five year old boy loves and more.

The restaurant was closed but our camping gear provided us with a stove for cooking and many of the amenities one needed to rough it in a cabin without preparation. We found the closest grocery store (which was anything but close) and picked up a feast made for a king:

  1. Bratwurst
  2. Orange Juice
  3. Beer (for Dad)
  4. Chips
  5. Cookies
  6. Red Grapes

The next 24 hours was filled with scaring seals, four wheeling up the Russian River (thank you Range Rover for making a vehicle that can handle the untrained driver), throwing rocks in the river, exploring Fort Ross, flying and losing a kite (we went after dinner to buy one), hunting for sea shells and getting to know one another in a memorable way.

In fact, we couldn't handle much more.

PS: There is a journal in the cabin that every guest has written in for over a decade. There are many great stories but I thought I'd share with you our entry and another one that I found particularly amusing.

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